Wildcats Down St. Joe's in Holy War, 55-39

Brianna Herlihy led the 'Cats with twelve rebounds, adding six points.

On Saturday, Nov. 20 the Villanova women’s basketball took on a short trip to Philadelphia to pick up their first win of the season against St. Joe’s by a score of 55-39. This gives the Wildcats a record of 1-2 overall, 1-0 in Big 5 play. The Wildcats were without star junior forward Maddy Siegrist, who was out with a right wrist injury. 

In Siegrist’s absence, the leading scorer for the Wildcats was sophomore forward Lior Garzon, who scored a career-high 26 points and shot 8-15 from the floor, 9-10 from the free-throw line. Freshman guard Lucy Olsen also scored seven points in the game. Another freshman who contributed for the ‘Cats was guard Kaitlyn Orihel, who scored six points. The final leading contributor for the Wildcats was graduate forward Brianna Herlihy, who contributed seven points and tied a career-high with 12 rebounds. For the Hawks, their leading scorers were Mackenzie Smith, who contributed eight points, and Julia Nystrom and Oliva Mullins, who both had six. 

In the first quarter, the Wildcats were able to get on the scoreboard first, but the Hawks quickly went on a 6-0 run to take the lead. Towards the end of the frame, a layup from junior guard Brooke Mullin allowed the Wildcats to come within one point of the Hawks, but by the end of the first quarter, the Wildcats were trailing 11-8. 

In the second quarter, things started slow for the Wildcats, but within three minutes, they were able to get the lead back, 16-14. Garzon contributed to this with a three-point play after a foul by Kaliah Henderson. Olsen drained a three-pointer at the end of the half to give the Wildcats the 27-24 lead. 

In the first half, the Wildcats shot 10-23 from the field, compared to the Hawks’ 7-26. In the first half, Garzon scored 10 out of her 26 points and went 3-of-5 from the field, 4-of-5 from the line. 

At the start of the second half, the Wildcats went on a 17-4 run to give them a comfortable lead. About half of this score came from the line, as the Wildcats made 9-of-11 of their free throws for an 81% clip during the run. The Wildcats held the Hawks to just 29.4% on field goals in the quarter.

In the fourth quarter, the Wildcats started on a 6-0 run, with main contributions from Garzon. She capped off her career-high 26 points with a three-pointer that led to a timeout by the Hawks with three minutes remaining. Although the Wildcats did not score in the final three minutes, the ‘Cats held on for the 55-39 victory.

The Wildcats shot 40.4% from the field, 18.2% from the three-point line, and 71.4% from the foul line. The Hawks were only 25% from the field, 27.3% from the three-point line, and 83.3% from the foul line.

This was the Wildcats’ sixth straight win over the Hawks. When it comes to Big 5 play, Villanova is 34-6 in its last 40 Big 5 games. This game improved the Wildcats to 123-40 (.754) in all-time Big 5 play. The game also extended the Wildcats’s streak of games with a made three-pointer to 551 consecutive games. 

For their next game, the Wildcats will continue Big 5 play on Monday, Nov. 22 when they travel into Philadelphia to take on the University of Pennsylvania Quakers. The last time the Wildcats took on the Quakers was on Jan. 15, 2020, where the Wildcats won 70-58. Tipoff is set for 7:00 P.M. at The Palestra.